Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nanotubes In Semiconductors

Carbon Nanotubes may be coming soon to a semiconductor near you.

Surrey NanoSystems, a University of Surrey spin-out working on a low-temperature growth process for carbon nanotubes, has secured second round funding of £2.5m

Surrey NanoSystems was established in 2006 as a spin-out from the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) to develop intellectual property which supports the fabrication of carbon nanotubes at low temperature.

The company developed a platform called NanoGrowth which creates conditions for the growth of precision carbon nanotubes at both the temperatures and densities needed for CMOS process technology.

The company is now optimising its technology for the mass-volume manufacturing environment, by scaling the hardware and refining and scaling the materials processing technology.

The new funding will allow Surrey NanoSystems to scale the materials growth technology from its current 100mm wafer size capability to the 300mm sizes used in commercial wafer fabrication plants.

"The semiconductor industry urgently needs a new interconnection technology. If you can solve the problem of growing precision carbon nanotubes at silicon-friendly temperatures - and we have - it opens up a massive potential market," said Ben Jensen, CTO of Surrey NanoSystems.
Yes it does. Right now with large integrated circuits more energy is lost in the connections than in the transistors. Carbon nanotubes are more conductive than the commonly used copper. This should make integrated circuits both faster and cooler. Lower resistance works like that.

It is also possible that things will get even better when carbon nanotube transistor fabrication becomes a manufacturable technique. Faster transistors with lower losses that can operate at higher temperatures. Just what is needed to advance power control technology.

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